Note 2. Summary of Significant Accounting Policies Update
Our significant accounting policies are included in Note 1 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 30, 2017. On December 31, 2017, we adopted ASU No. 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (ASC 606). Significant changes to our policies resulting from the adoption are provided below. We adopted ASC 606 using the modified retrospective transition method applied to contracts that were not substantially complete at the end of 2017. We recorded a $90 million adjustment to increase retained earnings to reflect the cumulative impact of adopting this standard at the beginning of 2018, primarily related to certain long-term contracts our Bell segment has with the U.S. Government that converted to the cost-to-cost method for revenue recognition. The comparative information has not been restated and is reported under the accounting standards in effect for those periods. A reconciliation of the financial statement line items impacted for the three months ended March 31, 2018 under ASC 606 to the prior accounting standards is provided in Note 16.
Revenue is recognized when control of the goods or services promised under the contract is transferred to the customer either at a point in time (e.g., upon delivery) or over time (e.g., as we perform under the contract). We account for a contract when it has approval and commitment from both parties, the rights and payment terms of the parties are identified, the contract has commercial substance and collectability of consideration is probable. Contracts are reviewed to determine whether there is one or multiple performance obligations. A performance obligation is a promise to transfer a distinct good or service to a customer and represents the unit of accounting for revenue recognition. For contracts with multiple performance obligations, the expected consideration, or the transaction price, is allocated to each performance obligation identified in the contract based on the relative standalone selling price of each performance obligation. Revenue is then recognized for the transaction price allocated to the performance obligation when control of the promised goods or services underlying the performance obligation is transferred. Contract consideration is not adjusted for the effects of a significant financing component when, at contract inception, the period between when control transfers and when the customer will pay for that good or service is one year or less.
The majority of our contracts with commercial customers have a single performance obligation as there is only one good or service promised or the promise to transfer the goods or services is not distinct or separately identifiable from other promises in the contract. Revenue is primarily recognized at a point in time, which is generally when the customer obtains control of the asset upon delivery and customer acceptance. Contract modifications that provide for additional distinct goods or services at the standalone selling price are treated as separate contracts.
For commercial aircraft, we contract with our customers to sell fully outfitted fixed-wing aircraft, which may include configuration options. The aircraft typically represents a single performance obligation and revenue is recognized upon customer acceptance and delivery. For commercial helicopters, our customers generally contract with us for fully functional basic configuration aircraft and control is transferred upon customer acceptance and delivery. At times, customers may separately contract with us for the installation of accessories and customization to the basic aircraft. If these contracts are entered into at or near the same time of the basic aircraft contract, we assess whether the contracts meet the criteria to be combined. For contracts that are combined, the basic aircraft and the accessories and customization are typically considered to be distinct, and therefore, are separate performance obligations. For these contracts, revenue is recognized on the basic aircraft upon customer acceptance and transfer of title and risk of loss and on the accessories and customization upon delivery and customer acceptance. We utilize observable prices to determine the standalone selling prices when allocating the transaction price to these performance obligations.
The transaction price for our commercial contracts reflects our estimate of returns, rebates and discounts, which are based on historical, current and forecasted information. Amounts billed to customers for shipping and handling are included in the transaction price and generally are not treated as separate performance obligations as these costs fulfill a promise to transfer the product to the customer. Taxes collected from customers and remitted to government authorities are recorded on a net basis.
We primarily provide standard warranty programs for products in our commercial businesses for periods that typically range from one to five years. These assurance-type programs typically cannot be purchased separately and do not meet the criteria to be considered a performance obligation.
U.S. Government Contracts
Our contracts with the U.S. Government generally include the design, development, manufacture or modification of aerospace and defense products as well as related services. These contracts, which also include those under the U.S. Government-sponsored foreign military sales program, accounted for approximately 24% of total revenues in 2017. The customer typically contracts with us to provide a significant service of integrating a complex set of tasks and components into a single project or capability, which often results in the delivery of multiple units. Accordingly, the entire contract is accounted for as one performance obligation. In certain circumstances, a contract may include both production and support services, such as logistics and parts plans, which are considered to be distinct in the context of the contract and represent separate performance obligations. When a contract is separated into more than one performance obligation, we generally utilize the expected cost plus a margin approach to determine the standalone selling prices when allocating the transaction price.
Our contracts are frequently modified for changes in contract specifications and requirements. Most of our contract modifications with the U.S. Government are for goods and services that are not distinct from the existing contract due to the significant integration service provided in the context of the contract and are accounted for as part of that existing contract. The effect of these contract modifications on our estimates is recognized using the cumulative catch-up method of accounting.
Contracts with the U.S. Government generally contain clauses that provide lien rights to work-in-process along with clauses that allow the customer to unilaterally terminate the contract for convenience, pay us for costs incurred plus a reasonable profit and take control of any work-in-process. Due to the continuous transfer of control to the U.S. Government, we recognize revenue over the time that we perform under the contract. Selecting the method to measure progress towards completion requires judgment and is based on the nature of the products or service to be provided. We generally use the cost-to-cost method to measure progress for our contracts because it best depicts the transfer of control to the customer that occurs as we incur costs on our contracts. Under this measure, the extent of progress towards completion is measured based on the ratio of costs incurred to date to the estimated costs at completion of the performance obligation, and revenue is recorded proportionally as costs are incurred.
The transaction price for our contracts represents our best estimate of the consideration we will receive and includes assumptions regarding variable consideration as applicable. Certain of our long-term contracts contain incentive fees or other provisions that can either increase or decrease the transaction price. These variable amounts generally are awarded upon achievement of certain performance metrics, program milestones or cost targets and can be based upon customer discretion. We include estimated amounts in the transaction price to the extent it is probable that a significant reversal of cumulative revenue recognized will not occur when the uncertainty associated with the variable consideration is resolved. Our estimates of variable consideration and determination of whether to include estimated amounts in the transaction price are based largely on an assessment of our anticipated performance and all other information that is reasonably available to us.
Total contract cost is estimated utilizing current contract specifications and expected engineering requirements. Contract costs typically are incurred over a period of several years, and the estimation of these costs requires substantial judgment. Our cost estimation process is based on the professional knowledge and experience of engineers and program managers along with finance professionals. We review and update our projections of costs quarterly or more frequently when circumstances significantly change.
Approximately 80% of our 2017 revenues with the U.S. Government were under fixed-price and fixed-price incentive contracts. Under the typical payment terms of these contracts, the customer pays us either performance-based or progress payments. Performance-based payments represent interim payments of up to 90% of the contract price based on quantifiable measures of performance or on the achievement of specified events or milestones. Progress payments are interim payments of up to 80% of costs incurred as the work progresses. Because the customer retains a small portion of the contract price until completion of the contract, these contracts generally result in revenue recognized in excess of billings, which we present as contract assets in the Consolidated Balance Sheets. Amounts billed and due from our customers are classified in Accounts receivable, net. The portion of the payments retained by the customer until final contract settlement is not considered a significant financing component because the intent is to protect the customer. For cost-type contracts, we are generally paid for our actual costs incurred within a short period of time.
For contracts where revenue is recognized over time, we generally recognize changes in estimated contract revenues, costs and profits using the cumulative catch-up method of accounting. This method recognizes the cumulative effect of changes on current and prior periods with the impact of the change from inception-to-date recorded in the current period. Anticipated losses on contracts are recognized in full in the period in which the losses become probable and estimable.
The impact of cumulative catch-up adjustments on both revenues and segment profit recognized in prior periods totaled $40 million and $(12) million in the first quarter of 2018 and 2017, respectively. The resulting impact increased income from continuing operations before income taxes by $40 million ($30 million after tax or $0.12 per diluted share) in the first quarter of 2018 and decreased income from continuing operations before income taxes by $12 million ($8 million after tax or $0.03 per diluted share) in the first quarter of 2017. For the first quarter of 2018 and 2017, the gross favorable adjustments totaled $56 million and $20 million, respectively, and the gross unfavorable adjustments totaled $16 million and $32 million, respectively. In the first quarter of 2017, the gross unfavorable adjustments included a $24 million loss related to the Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle (TAPV) program due to inefficiencies resulting from production issues.
Contract Assets and Liabilities
Contract assets arise from contracts when revenue is recognized over time and the amount of revenue recognized exceeds the amount billed to the customer. These amounts are included in contract assets until the right to payment is no longer conditional on events other than the passage of time. Contract assets are included in Other current assets in the Consolidated Balance Sheet. Contract liabilities, which are primarily included in Other current liabilities, include deposits, largely from our commercial aviation customers, and billings in excess of revenue recognized.
The incremental costs of obtaining a contract with a customer that is expected to be recovered is expensed as incurred when the period to be benefitted is one year or less.
Accounts Receivable, Net
Accounts receivable, net includes amounts billed to customers where the right to payment is unconditional. We maintain an allowance for doubtful accounts to provide for the estimated amount of accounts receivable that will not be collected, which is based on an assessment of customer creditworthiness, historical payment experience, the age of outstanding receivable and collateral value, if any.
Accounting Pronouncements Not Yet Adopted
In February 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued ASU No. 2016-02, Leases, that requires lessees to recognize all leases with a term greater than 12 months on the balance sheet as right-to-use assets and lease liabilities, while lease expenses would continue to be recognized in the statement of operations in a manner similar to current accounting guidance. Under the current accounting guidance, we are not required to recognize assets and liabilities arising from operating leases on the balance sheet. The new standard is effective for our company at the beginning of 2019. Entities must adopt the standard on a modified retrospective basis whereby it would be applied at the beginning of the earliest comparative year. While we continue to evaluate the impact of the standard on our consolidated financial statements, we expect that it will materially increase our assets and liabilities on our consolidated balance sheet as we recognize the rights and corresponding obligations related to our operating leases.
In June 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-13, Financial Instruments – Credit Losses. For most financial assets, such as trade and other receivables, loans and other instruments, this standard changes the current incurred loss model to a forward-looking expected credit loss model, which generally will result in the earlier recognition of allowances for losses. The new standard is effective for our company at the beginning of 2020 with early adoption permitted beginning in 2019. Entities are required to apply the provisions of the standard through a cumulative-effect adjustment to retained earnings as of the effective date. We are currently evaluating the impact of the standard on our consolidated financial statements.